Keystone ECO NautiCase Protects Your iPhone From Water, Sand, Shock

Last year, I brought you a Ballistic HC iPhone Case Review and found it to be an awesome rugged case. At the time, I wished it would protect my iPhone from water, too. Today, I have a Keystone ECO NautiCase, which promises to be shock proof, sand proof, and splash proof, so I put it to the test.

Keystone ECO NautiCase

NautiCase Features

The NautiCase is made with a polycarbonate hard shell surrounded by a rubber skin and has a clear membrane for interfacing with the screen while protecting it. Also included with the case was a thick holster with a belt clip and the belt clip doubles as a stand.

Some of the key features as mentioned on the Keystone site are:
– Shock proof, sand/dust proof and splash proof. IP54 certified.
– 3-layer integrated one-piece design, no assembly needed.
– Redesigned sound channel for clear voice transmission.
– Full touch screen and phone functionality.
– Access to all buttons.
– Enhanced lens protection allowing glare free photography.
– Hard impact hard shell with durable rubber skin & textured bumper for firm grip and shock absorption.
– Holster holds phone face in or face out and with built-in stand.

How Well Did It Work?

The case has a very small rubber seal around its inner perimeter that came out a little the first time I opened it. I wedged it back in and it wasn’t a problem, but this had me worried from the beginning. Another thing to note is that the included user guide warned that this case is splash proof, not water proof. The case has a hinged front that opens to insert or remove your iPhone and snaps tight with three small plastic clips on the top, left, and right edges. Getting my phone in and out of this case was easier than a lot of other cases I’ve reviewed, and that’s important for a case like this. The holster was, well, a holster and worked like it should. The Swivel belt clip moved only when I wanted it to, but it sometimes required a bit of pressure. This is a good thing, really. As an added feature, the belt clip has a little plastic prop that pops out to make it double as a stand. This only worked for horizontal viewing, but it worked well. I put the case and holster on my iPhone for just this feature to view MIT video courses one night.

Keystone ECO Nauticase

The NautiCase did pretty well with some basic tests with dirt and dropping, but I was really interested in just how splash proof it was. Despite the warnings in the user guide, I fully submerged my NautiCase in a sink full of water (as seen above). What you might also notice in the image above is that I did not have my phone in the case for this test. I heeded the warnings and opted, instead, for paper towels. With the case completely packed with two paper towels, I submerged it in the sink for 60 seconds, giving it any chance to fill with water. When I retrieved it, there was a small amount of wet paper towel at the bottom edge. This was much better than anticipated, as I expected the front membrane to let a lot of water in. The top two-thirds of the paper towel was bone dry, which also surprised me. Splash proof? It’s almost completely water proof. Keep in mind that the operative word is “almost”, so when you use this case, heed the same warnings about submerging it.


While a little bulky, the Keystone ECO NautiCase comes in several color combinations to help it fit your style. Regardless, this is a case designed for function more than for style and it works well for that purpose. At $49.99, it’s priced for a higher budget, but if it saves your phone once, it’s worth the price. This is not a case I would have on my phone all the time, but will definitely come in handy when on a hike, by a pool, or anywhere I know the likelihood of iPhone catastrophe is high.

Win A Ballistic HC or SG iPhone 4 Case

Feeling Lucky? Ballistic has given me two iPhone 4 cases to give to a couple lucky readers, so it’s time for another contest. If you’re a regular reader, you may remember my Ballistic HC iPhone 4 case review from June. While I am normally very gentle with my iPhone, I trusted the HC case enough to throw it around for the review video, and Ballistic went a few steps further and tried everything to destroy an iPhone in their own video. I can’t see buying another case if my number one priority is durability.

Ballistic iPhone Cases

About The Cases

Ballistic: Ballistic HC for iPhone 4
Ballistic HC iPhone Case
Premium protective case for your AT&T or Verizon iPhone 4 offers durability with style to fit your everyday life
– Ballistic HC (Hard Core) design comprised of five dependable layers of protection for your mobile device
– Includes an interchangeable outer gel skin layer, front facing inward holster and built in screen protector
– Advanced rugged case engineered to ensure long-term survival against drops and scratches
– Advanced shock absorption material isolated vibrations to protect your device
– Sleek, edgy appearance adds a fashionable and unique appeal
– Available in: Black, Red, Pink, White and Yellow
– Compatible with both the AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4
Price: $49.99

Ballistic: Ballistic SG
Ballistic SG iPhone Case
Durable case for your iPhone 4 provides maximum protection and optimal pocket-ability
– Ballistic SG (Shell Gel) case offers ultimate durability in a slim form factor
– Outermost layer is made of soft Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) for shock absorption
– Middle layer is made of tough impact resistant polycarbonate to provide a formidable defense against everyday damage
– Inner-most layer is made of soft silicone, with strong Ballistic Cornersâ„¢ to absorb the shock of any drop
– Available in two color combinations: black/black and black/red
Price: $29.99

Win A Ballistic iPhone 4 Case

The contest is simple. From now until 8:00AM MST September 24th, you can earn one entry for each of the following actions completed. Each can only be earned once. For any entry to count, I have to be able to see it and contact the winner, so add me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter first.
– Post a link to this contest on Twitter
– Post a link to this contest on Facebook
– Post a link to this contest on Google+
– Post a link to my Ballistic HC Review video on Twitter
– Post a link to my Ballistic HC Review video on Facebook
– Post a link to my Ballistic HC Review video on Google+
– Favorite my Ballistic HC Review video on YouTube
– Comment below to tell me what your favorite product from is.

For Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ posts, you must let me know either by tagging me or with a message of some sort. Remember, if I don’t see it, you don’t get an entry. Each of the actions above is worth 1 entry, so you can enter 8 times this week! I will randomly draw TWO winners on September 24th and announce them here and by private message.

If you don’t want to wait for the contest to end, you can buy both cases from and AT&T Retail Stores.

Finis XtreaMP3 – The Tough Waterproof MP3 Player

A few weeks ago, I was busy trying to make an old iPod shuffle ready for dirt and water and whatever else might happen to it over the following seven days. As I was devising ways to make an iPod waterproof, the FINIS XtreaMP3 waterproof digital music player arrived for me to review. I dropped my special project to open up the box and see what it was all about.

FINIS XtreaMP3 player

XtreaMP3 Technical Specs

Often, when I find out something is made to be rugged or, in this case, waterproof, I fear for the loss of traditional features. The first thing I noticed with the XtreaMP3 was the lack of any digital screen to show me a playlist or even what song is playing. I may be a bit spoiled, but I wasn’t much surprised. This, after all, is meant to be waterproof and I guess no digital readout is the trade-off. Moving along, I found this player to have many of the standard features expected of an MP3 player, including:

• 1GB of storage
• MP3 and WMA Compatible, iTunes Convertible
• Playlists
• Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery
• Basic play controls

…and, of course, a couple unique to a sport or waterproof player:

• Air-tight, waterproof ear buds
• Neoprene arm strap

Like some car MP3 players, playlists on this device are created by just dropping music into a folder. This is a little less convenient than creating a playlist via software and it means you’ll have to be creative if you want to put the tracks in a specific order. The 1GB of storage seems a little low from the perspective of someone with a 64GB iPhone, but for its size and durability, it gets the job done.

The River Test

This product arrived with exceptional timing for a proper test. Why just play with it near water for a day when you can fully immerse it into the type of activity that its creators had in mind? After charging the XtreaMP3 up fully and squeezing as much music as possible onto it, I took it with me on a seven day hike. Starting in Utah, two friends and I followed the Paria River 63 miles into Arizona, enduring cold, heat, mud, water, climbing and a lot of dirt and sand throughout. For those seven days, the XtreamMP3 tagged along in my pocket, surviving the same elements, and occasionally making the trip easier with music.

FINIS XtreaMP3 in the Paria River

The picture above is not just of me on the river. Below is a close-up where you can see a wet, dirty, mud-covered XtreaMP3. Towards the end of our hike, I stopped to relax in the river with the best of Johnny Cash.

FINIS XtreaMP3 player

Although the waterproofed controls of the XtreaMP3 took some getting used to, the waterproofed ear buds sounded much better than I had expected. The arm band (which I did not take with me) takes some practice the first time to get the music player to attach to it and stay attached. One of the more unique elements FINIS included was the way in which the XtreaMP3 is charged. There’s a small waterproof sleeve that covers the tiny USB connector to keep water out. I’m not sure if any water got through, but I never had a problem with it working, even submerged in the river.


At about $90, the XtreaMP3 is a little less than most iPods, but you’ll trade some features for the peace of mind that a little dirt and water is no match for your music. Even accidentally throwing this player around didn’t phase it. The XtreaMP3 is the easy choice for the outdoor adventurer, surfer, or swimmer.